Are you protecting your eyes? Learn about eye safety in the workplace and preventing eye injuries

The types of eye protection required depend on the hazard present in the workplace. When working in areas where particles, flying objects, or dust can be present, safety glasses with side protection (side shields) must be worn. Goggles are required when working with chemicals, and special-purpose safety glasses, goggles, face shields or helmets are required when working near hazardous radiation like welding, lasers or fiber optics.

Eye Safety in the Workplace

Everyday an estimated 1,000 eye injuries occur in American workplaces. The financial cost of these injuries is more than $300 million per year in lost production time, medical expenses, and workers compensation. No dollar figure can adequately reflect the personal toll these accidents take on the injured workers. The Labor’s Department Bureau Statistics (BLS) reports that nearly three out of every five workers injured were not wearing eye protection at the time of the accident. Source: U.S. Department of Labor

Preventing Eye Injuries

The best ways to prevent injury to the eye is to always wear the appropriate eye protection. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that approximately three out of every five workers injured were either not wearing eye protection at the time of the accident or wearing the wrong kind of eye protection for the job. To be effective, eye wear must fit properly and be designed to effectively protect workers while they work. It is estimated that over 90% of eye injuries are preventable with the use of proper safety eyewear.

Cleaning Protective Eyewear

Keeping safety glasses and protective goggles clean is imperative in order that the wearer’s visions are unobstructed. Dirty lenses not only impair ones vision, the debris can cause scratches and permanent damage to the lenses. Safety glasses and/or goggles should be checked for damage prior to every use. They should also be cleaned regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Any protective eyewear that shows signs of discolorations, scratches or material weakness should be discarded immediately and replaced. Cleaning should only be done using the approved cleaning solutions and a soft cloth. Never try to clean lenses with chemicals or paper towels unless specified by the manufacturer. Keep in mind that all protective eyewear must be specific for each task and must meet the requirements of OSHA and ANSI standards.

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